You could say this was the album that set Blue Oyster Cult on their way commercially, and was quite different to the proto-metal that went before.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Blue Oyster Cult
ALBUM: Agents Of Fortune
SERIAL: PC 34164
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Eric Bloom – guitars, percussion, vocals * Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser – lead guitars, keyboards, vocals * Allen Lanier – rhythm guitars, keyboards, vocals * Joe Bouchard – bass, piano, vocals * Albert Bouchard – drums, percussion, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 This Ain’t The Summer Of Love * 02 True Confessions * 03 (Don’t Fear) The Reaper * 04 E. T. I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) * 05 The Revenge Of Vera Gemini * 06 Sinful Love * 07 Tattoo Vampire * 08 Morning Final * 09 Tenderloin * 10 Debbie Denise
WEBLINKS: Site Link
My first introduction to Blue Oyster Cult came quite late actually. 1979 to be exact, at least ten years after their Stalk Forrest Group tenure. Their 1979 album ‘Mirrors’ had just landed in my local record store, and I knew I had to get it; without knowing too much about the band.
Of course I had heard the song ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’, bit it wasn’t as big a hit down under as it was the USA. In fact, their earlier albums were quite hard to find, and it wasn’t until ‘Mirrors’ had been purchased, that the Blue Oyster Cult universe opened up to me.
One national Sunday Newspaper in New Zealand did a huge feature on Blue Oyster Cult in line with the promo for ‘Mirrors’, which to this day would seem to be an unbelievable event in Kiwi land, but hey, it was the 70’s after all. Then the albums ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, ‘Spectres’ and ‘Agents Of Fortune’ suddenly became available, and in the space of days I increased my Blue Oyster Cult collection four-fold.
We’ve already written about ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and ‘Spectres’, plus most of their 80’s releases, but ‘Agents Of Fortune’ seemed to miss the parade; until now that is. You could say it was the album to set them on their way commercially, and was quite different to the proto-metal that went before.
The album featured all of the five members taking prominent roles throughout the album’s songs. ‘This Ain’t The Summer’ has a very trippy 60’s vibe to it, reminiscent of the music from The Doors and others of that similar style from back then.
Allen Lanier takes the lead on the piano driven ‘True Confessions’, coming off like a Joe Cerisano and/or a Silver Condor. Maybe a touch of Billy Joel and Randy Newman too.
‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ features that haunting/timeless guitar riff from Buck Dharma, plus of course that famous cowbell part from Albert Bouchard. For a song reputedly about death, it kinda has an soothing tone about it, though I wouldn’t call it a funeral song. lol.
Strange even that it became their best selling hit, and of course parodied to (excuse the pun) ‘death’ by Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live (YouTube), The errant cry of ‘we need more cowbell’ rings across the Internet. click here.
Piano stabs are the main feature of ‘E. T. I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)’ along with a melodic chorus and some outer-space sound effects during the solo section. A good live rocker too, and it’s one of my album highlights. ‘The Revenge Of Vera Gemini’ is kinda cinematic in a way, with spoken word parts and mysterious elements. Like a spy-novel put to music.
Onto side two. ‘Sinful Love’ sings about sin within the context of love and relationships, it has a good solo and more piano stabs than a butchers knife. ‘Tattoo Vampire’ is kinda manic in it own weird way. Like a mix of Alice Cooper styled rock (before he went commercial heavy metal) and dour new wave, before it went stylish. Not the best track here, but..
Unlike ‘Morning Final’ which is very mild and melodic, ‘Tenderloin’ is of a similar disposition, the band not quite reaching top speed with these two. I quite liked ‘Debbie Denise’, but admittedly it’s a far cry from Blue Oyster Cult’s sonic HM days between 1971 and 1974.
‘Agents Of Fortune’ went top 30 and saw a change of fortune (excuse the pun) for the band. They even released a second live set ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ within three years of their 1975 double live ‘On Your Feet Or On Your Knees’. ‘SEE’ ended up being Blue Oyster Cult’s most successful selling record, apparently. Anyway, it’s good to finally add ‘Agents Of Fortune’ to Glory Daze’s public record.
Don’t Fear The Reaper
Entire Album (Select Tracks)